Mumbai: In the sharpest attack yet on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and erstwhile ally BJP, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray wondered if a “chaiwala” (tea-vendor) can become prime minister, why couldn’t he become the chief minister of Maharashtra. He said so in an interview to Sanjay Raut, executive editor, “Saamana”, the party mouthpiece. Excerpts of the interview, which will appear on Wednesday morning, were released by a Thackeray aide on Tuesday night. The statement comes barely three weeks after Thackeray openly declared his chief ministerial ambitions at a public function.
Taken aback by the interview, the state BJP leaders said they were aware of Thackeray’s secret ambitions, which was one of the reasons why they were bargaining for more seats in the elections. Incidentally, unlike the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has strategically avoided projecting anybody as the chief ministerial candidate in the state elections, though there are many probables and hopefuls.